Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Opera Tampa gala nets $45,000

Opera Tampa Gala

Opera philanthropists Dr. Zena Lansky and Warren Rodgers honored Straz Center director Judy Lisi by sponsoring Saturday's Spanish-flavored Opera Tampa Gala hosted by co-chairwomen Lea Davis and Kathleen Casey-Shannon. The black-tie evening opened with cocktails on the set of Bizet's Carmen in Morsani Hall with Carmen herself, Alessandra Volpe. Dinner starred lobster risotto, tenderloin and basil gnocchi in the lobby where maestro Daniel Lipton proudly presented Opera Tampa singers to the 140 guests.

Due to illness, a video of baritone Thomas Hampson's career spanning 80 roles and 70 recordings had to suffice for having the 2014 Anton Coppola Excellence in the Arts award winner in person. Lisi read his letter of regret.

On cue, Aaron Fodiman played the role of auctioneer, helping get the gala net proceeds of more than $45,000, including two bids of $1,000 to conduct the orchestra through an opera dress rehearsal and read-through next year and three bids of $900 each for walk-on "super" roles in two upcoming operas.

Easter Seals' A Pair to Remember

Personal trainers, Realtors, firefighters and other suave gentlemen hammed it up for a tentful of ladies bidding on trendy shoes and other goodies at A Pair to Remember, helping chairwoman Kandace Lesher raise $43,000 for Easter Seals Florida.

The ladies lunch bunch found a silent auction and spa services when they arrived at the Tampa Yacht Club Feb. 28. Soon they were cheering with emcee Jen Holloway and the men — all outfitted by Scott Moore of Urban Body Clothing — as they strutted with shoes on a silver platter, paired with gift cards, airline tickets and golf packages. A pair of Burberry espadrille wedges, Botox and four nights in a Bahamas cottage was a hot seller at $2,000.

The male eye candy was fine, but how sweet it was to meet some children benefiting from Easter Seals therapy for infants up to age 5.

To Life, Florida Holocaust Museum

Co-chairwomen Lisl Schick and Marietta Drucker poignantly marked the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport at To Life, the annual Florida Holocaust Museum dinner, a special evening for the two women who were among the 10,000 Jewish children transported out of Nazi Germany in that historic rescue. Concert pianist Mona Golabek shared the story of her mother's escape on the Kindertransport, performing excerpts from her show based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane.

Executive director Elizabeth Gelman welcomed the 450 guests mingling at food stations, a noodle bar and hot dog stand at the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 27.

One special guest, Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, received the 2014 Loebenberg Humanitarian Award from Sandy Loebenberg Mermelstein. She cited Castor's legacy of treating individuals with dignity and respect, noting every Tampa officer takes a course on the ethics of law enforcement in a democracy.


Tuesday: 13th annual Women of Distinction/Woman of Promise benefits Girl Scouts of West Central Florida; 11:30 a.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; $75; (800) 881-4475, ext. 1688 or

Wednesday: Gasparilla International Film Festival VIP reception and opening film, 5:30 p.m. Tampa Theatre; $55; (813) 260-4433 or

Wednesday: Death by Chocolate dessert and auction benefit for National Coalition of 100 Black Women; 7-10 p.m.; Tampa Club; $35;

Thursday: Person of Vision award dinner benefits Prevent Blindness Florida; honorees Betty Castor and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; 6 p.m.; Vinoy Renaissance Resort; $125; (813) 874-2020, ext. 4026.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Opera Tampa gala nets $45,000 03/12/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others


    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  2. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again


    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Trumps travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the plans.

    President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said Friday. The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration's original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa. [Associated Press]
  4. New World Brewery is closing. Where will all its concerts go now?


    Ever since it was announced that New World Brewery was closing its beloved Ybor City location and relocating to a spot farther north, there’s been an outpouring of nostalgia from artists, promoters and fans throughout the Tampa Bay music scene.

    Allison Weiss performed at New World Brewery in 2015.
  5. Farewell, New World Brewery: 11 Tampa music scene regulars toast a beloved venue


    It's hard to put into words what New World Brewery has meant to the Tampa music scene over the past 22 years.

    Matt Burke and Have Gun, Will Travel, shown performing at New World Brewery in 2009. Burke credits the venue with shaping how the band wanted to develop.